Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Kangaroo Art Trail comes to life

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The Maldon in Winter festival kicks off tonight (Friday 23 June) with the long-awaited for Kangaroo Art Trail coming to life!

Twenty-four life-sized kangaroos lovingly decorated by an array of local artists and community groups are creatively displayed in shop windows along Main & High Streets in Maldon throughout the festival.

Rooby Doo by Sally Andressen, Connected Footprints by Troy Firebrace, Edna by the MANet collective, Dusk by Julie Patey.
Photos: Tarrangower Times

The Kangaroo Project began when inspired locals Felicity Howard and Pamela Jewson dreamt up an art project that might also serve a greater mission.

“We wanted to create something wonderful that also had a purpose, even a tangible outcome,” said Felicity. And that purpose is to honour volunteer wildlife rescue services and raise money for local wildlife carers, Red Box Wildlife Shelter.

A community collaboration, the Maldon’s Men Shed participated very early on by cutting out the giant wooden silhouettes – some joey-sized and others full-sized, ready to be adorned and brought to life by by the participating artists using an array of media.

“I looked for a diversity of artists in order to create a variety of styles. And we have everything from pom poms to bed springs adorning our kangaroos!” Felicity said.

Passionate about the immense efforts made by local wildlife carers to respond to and care for injured wildlife, Felicity explained, “We hope to help the community connect to our resident kangaroos in special and meaningful ways. To learn about and understand them. We co-exist with these incredible creatures and are incredibly lucky to do so.”

Felicity sought to pair artists with businesses that share an ethos or an aesthetic, and together they’re creating an exceptional street art experience. The community groups, businesses and artists involved have all given their time and artistry for free. At the end of the festival, the kangaroos, along with a mid-20th century (c.1950s) limited edition ceramic kangaroo sculpture by Australian artist Kim Devenish (kindly donated by Time Travellers) will be auctioned and all proceeds will be gifted to the Red Box Wildlife Shelter.

Meet at the Bank Corner at 5pm to watch the exhibition lights get turned on and join the trail tour. Hear a didgeridoo performance, listen to guest speaker and macropod vet Dr Marc and receive your trail map for where to spot the kangaroos.

Meet the Artists

Eliza Tree is an expeditioner, artist and environmentalist, and you’ll find her roo standing in front of her beautiful, detailed, topographical impression of Djaara country, inclusive of Mount Tarrengower. Eliza explores culture, ecology and landscape through her art and her roo is on display at Watermark.

June and Rocky Huxley are retired antiques dealers and life-as-art practitioners who use found and recycled objects to create a world anew. With a cheeky eye for detail, you’ll find a lot to love in their recycled screw, springs, clock parts and other bits and bobs kangaroo, set among a nature scene created with branches, flowers and rocks. “If you look closely, you might spy an echidna or two,” says Rocky. While the joey depicted in a pouch “made from recycled fake suede,” assures June, is a photo of a velvet joey that they rescued after finding her alone and in need of help. Spot her at Platform No. 5.

The Maldon Primary School have contributed 3 kangaroos. The P/1 kids have created a magnificent joey inspired by the bold design and colour of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, while the Grade 4/5/6s offer us ‘Fleur’, a mixed media kangaroo that anyone inspired by Frida Kahlo will much admire. Both of those can be seen at Much Ado, while Grade 2/3s ‘Neon’ is at Polly and Willow.

The North Melbourne Football Team have even contributed a roo! Decorated by the junior club members and signed by the senior players, you won’t want to miss seeing the kangaroo made by the Kangaroos in the window of new business, 1820.

Incredible Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung artist Troy Firebrace has designed a roo with a contemporary feel in the Edge Gallery space, while Carlo San Giorgio fuses landscape drawings with portraits to explore an inner terrain.

Inspired by Austrian-born landscape painter Eugene von Geurard who lived in Victoria in the mid to late 1800s, ‘Eugene’s Dream’ looks through foreign eyes at the Australian landscape. “The landscape itself is Back Cemetery Rd where I walk my dogs,” says Carlo, “while the word ‘dream’ refers to a more spiritual connection to kangaroos.” You can see him at Laine & Col.

Sally Andressen lives on 100 acres and is inspired by the colours of the bush; yellow wattle and pink sunsets. Sally employs stencils created from gum nuts and leaves, and ‘Rooby Doo’ can be seen In the window of Deck Chair Vintage.

‘Dusk’ is Julie Patey’s response to the kangaroos who assemble on the granite country near her home at dusk moving from the top ridge and down to Goughs Range State Forest for the evening. “Every morning, I wake up to some relaxed kangaroos feeding outside my bedroom window.” The artwork depicts the granite boulders on the track to Julie’s place, and the map overlay is of the roads that move in and out of Maldon.

A community art project of immense magnitude and enormous amounts of love, the kangaroos will be available to marvel at for the duration of the Maldon in Winter Festival, from Friday 23 June to Sunday 9 July. Be sure to register your interest if you’d like to be kept in the loop about the auction.

Tarrangower Times 23 June 2023

This article appeared in the Tarrangower Times, 23 June 2023.

Related story: Kangaroo Art at Maldon Primary


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